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Dr. Oz shares 4 ways to strengthen your immune system

Dr. Oz talked about how sleep, exercise, supplements and a healthy diet can help boost your immune system as cases of coronavirus rise.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

As cases of coronavirus continue to grow across the country, Dr. Mehmet Oz offered some simple tips on TODAY about how you can strengthen your immune system.

Oz kicked things off by demonstrating with Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb how a simple change in greeting friends and family can help lessen the spread of bacteria, offering them a fist bump instead of a handshake or hug.

"Handshake passes the most bacteria,'' he said. "(A) high-five is only half the bacteria of a handshake, but a fist bump is only one-tenth."

Oz also highlighted important areas of focus when it comes to keeping your immune system strong: sleep, exercise, supplements and a healthy diet. Here are a few specific things you can do to stay healthy.

1. Take care of yourself.

Practice good sleep hygiene, exercise and try to mediate. Meditation can help to reduce stress on your immune system.

"Something as simple as a five-minute yoga tactic,'' he said. "Go sit on the toilet seat, put it down — you're not going to the bathroom — sit there, quiet yourself and just realize that it's OK. No one will bother you there."

2. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

Oz suggested adding a few supplements to boost your defenses against illness.

"Supplements have never been shown to beat coronavirus, however there are some tactics that will slow down the progression of viruses in general,'' he said. "So ideas that work well generally are vitamin D, which you get from the sun, but this time of year you've got to take it as a supplement."

He also recommended vitamin C, zinc and elderberry supplements, as well as getting vitamin C from healthy sources like leafy greens, salmon and berries.

3. Load up on healthy fruits and vegetables.

"Fruits and vegetables make a huge difference, they enhance your immune response," he noted. Oz shared some recipes for delicious and healthy smoothies that also pack in plenty of antioxidants for immune system health.

His "green energy machine" smoothie includes spinach, matcha powder and almond milk, while his "ginger hydrator" drink features oranges, bananas and pineapple.

"The nice thing about this baby is that it's got all the antioxidants you'd ever want to have, and I think you'll like the taste," he said about the ginger hydrator.

4. Get the flu shot.

"That way if you feel ill, you know it's not the flu, most likely," Oz explained.

For those who are 60 and older and worried about the coronavirus, Oz shared risk factors people in that demographic should keep an eye on.

He also noted that he has been frequently asked by people whether they should avoid going out in public due to the coronavirus, and he urged people not to panic.

"Live your life,'' he said. "Do not live your life with fear. Live it with joy and kindness."

Dr. Mehmet Oz/Facebook